While the #MeToo movement is holding many men in Hollywood responsible for their actions, it hasn’t exactly trickled into other areas of the entertainment industry. That’s why guys like Ian Connor—fashion advisor for Kanye West, and also friendly with A$AP Mob, Drake, and Virgil Abloh—have almost slipped through the cracks regarding accountability. Sexual assault allegations against Connor began emerging in 2016.
In a new interview with The Daily Beast, Amber Rose—founder of the well-known SlutWalk—spoke on Connor’s transgressions, telling The Daily Beast that “21 women” have contacted her with claims that Connor sexually assaulted them. But that happened in late 2016, before the #MeToo movement.
“It’s disheartening because these girls are regular girls who have no voice,” Rose said. “I’ve tried to give them a platform, and everything sort of fell through. People look at celebrities—or influencers—as though they can get any girl they want, so why would they rape girls or sexually assault girls? But they do, and it’s horrible. I believe these girls because they’re from all over the world, they don’t know each other, and they all have the same exact story.”
She continued, “I don’t know why [Connor’s] still walking around. I’m disgusted with him because I truly believe that he did everything that they said he did. It’s really, really sad.”
Connor often preyed on young, black girls who were in tough financial situations. These girls also felt like they weren’t in the position to accuse someone like Connor. “They never got a rape kit because they were scared, and on the other side, it’s almost as if he’s not famous enough for people to write a story about him and really blow it up because nobody cares about him enough to give a fuck that he’s actually raping women,” says Rose.
“There’s this ‘snitching’ culture where you can’t snitch on a guy, and nobody will ever really respect you if you snitch,” Rose said. “I feel like probably a lot of [Connor’s] male friends know what he does—maybe they do the same—but they’ll never tell on him because then they’ll be known as a snitch, and nobody will respect them.”
She added, “It’s that culture where you can’t say anything and almost have to sweep it under the rug, and I think a lot of [men] feel like, ‘Well, who cares? These girls put themselves in these situations, so they deserve it.’ That’s obviously everything I speak about at my SlutWalk. It doesn’t matter if you go to his house at midnight or five o’clock in the morning, you always have the right to say no.”
Rose has become a confidant to women who’ve endured similar situations and said that she had been entrusted with information regarding other alleged sexual abusers in the hip-hop community.
“It’s not my place to discuss it,” Rose remarked. “They’re hopefully going to come out and tell their own stories, so it’s not for me to say.”
In early 2016, Malika Anderson—who was, at that time, a senior at Emory University—accused Connor of sexual assault in a blog post titled, “Ian Connor Is a Rapist and I Know Firsthand.” Anderson asserted that Connor raped her on Oct. 5, 2014. In another blog post titled, “For Malika,” Chicago musician Jean Deaux alleged that Connor raped her too. Afterwards, around a dozen other women’s stories surfaced. Connor has continually denied the allegations.